Traveling Luck for Czech Republic

Czech Republic is located in Central Europe, southeast of Germany.

Czech Republic has borders with Austria for 362km, Germany for 646km, Poland for 658km and Slovakia for 215km.

Land in Czech Republic is Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country.

Czech land covers an area of 78866 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than South Carolina

As for the Czech climate; temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters.

Czech(s) speak Czech.

Czech National Map

Czech Map

Regions of Czech Republic

Following the First World War, the closely related Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, the new country's leaders were frequently preoccupied with meeting the demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Sudeten Germans and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). After World War II, a truncated Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize Communist party rule and create "socialism with a human face." Anti-Soviet demonstrations the following year ushered in a period of harsh repression. With the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution." On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.


Czech Republic Country Profile

The Czech Republic is one of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. Growth in 2000-05 was supported by exports to the EU, primarily to Germany, and a strong recovery of foreign and domestic investment. Domestic demand is playing an ever more important role in underpinning growth as interest rates drop and the availability of credit cards and mortgages increases. Current account deficits of around 5% of GDP are beginning to decline as demand for Czech products in the European Union increases. Inflation is under control. Recent accession to the EU gives further impetus and direction to structural reform. In early 2004 the government passed increases in the Value Added Tax (VAT) and tightened eligibility for social benefits with the intention to bring the public finance gap down to 4% of GDP by 2006, but more difficult pension and healthcare reforms will have to wait until after the next elections. Privatization of the state-owned telecommunications firm Cesky Telecom took place in 2005. Intensified restructuring among large enterprises, improvements in the financial sector, and effective use of available EU funds should strengthen output growth.

Czech natural resources include hard coal, soft coal, kaolin, clay, graphite, timber

landlocked; strategically located astride some of oldest and most significant land routes in Europe; Moravian Gate is a traditional military corridor between the North European Plain and the Danube in central Europe

Czech religion is Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59% (2001 census).

Natural hazards in Czech Republic include flooding.

Travel Advice on Czech Republic

Czech Republic

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Health section (EHIC) and General section (EU Aviation Regulations).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • The Czech Republic shares with the rest of Europe a threat from international terrorism.  Attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets.

  • Around 750,000 British people visit the Czech Republic every year.  Most visits are trouble-free.  However, the majority of cases that require consular assistance are those that deal with lost and stolen passports.  Take extra care when travelling on public transport and be aware of the people around you.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see Travel Insurance.  We also strongly recommend that you make copies of your passport (including any visa pages), insurance policy plus 24-hour emergency number, and ticket details.  You should take a copy of your passport data page with you and leave copies, your itinerary and contact details with family and/or friends.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime

Prague City Police advises visitors to Prague of the following:
  • Always exchange currency at a currency exchange office or bank, never with vendors on the street as this money is often counterfeit.
  • Avoid contact with women acting as street prostitutes as they are often pickpockets.
  • Take care using cash machines.
  • Do not buy drugs on the street: sale and distribution is illegal and such drugs are often hazardous counterfeits.
  • Be aware of consumption charges in night clubs, as they are often high, and be careful with consumption cards, which carry high financial penalties if they are lost before bills are paid.
Petty theft is a growing problem, particularly in Prague.  Pickpocketing is common at the main tourist attractions, at the main railway station, and on public transport, particularly those routes to and from Prague Castle and other major tourist sites.  There have also been several cases of theft from hotel rooms and even safes.  There are increasing numbers of cases of theft on the tram and metro involving gangs of up to 9 or 10 people surrounding their victims and even threatening violence.  Take extra care when travelling on public transport and be aware of the people around you.

Beware of bogus plain-clothes policemen, who may ask to see your foreign currency and passport.   If approached, decline to show your money, but offer instead to go with them to the nearest police station.  If you suspect that you are dealing with a bogus police officer, you can call 158 or 112 to check their identity.  No police officer in the Czech Republic has the right to check your money or its authenticity.

Theft of property should be reported in person to the Czech police within 24 hours to obtain a Police Report Crime Number.  It is not possible to obtain this later, especially after you have left the Czech Republic.

Never leave drinks or food unattended, or accept drinks from strangers, however attractive the offer might seem.  There have been a small number of incidents involving drinks being spiked and visitors having their valuables stolen whilst intoxicated.

For reasons of safety and economy, you are advised to use major taxi companies, such as AAA (23311 3311) or Profitaxi (26131 4151).  These companies are usually able to tell you the type, number and colour of the car in advance.

Reporting Lost / Stolen property in Prague


If you have had your passport, wallet or other property stolen, or if you suspect you have had them stolen, then you should file a report with the police station at Vlasska 3, Mala Strana (nearest tram stop: Malostranske Namesti, trams 12, 20, 22, and 23; nearest metro: Malostranska).  Vlasska police station is open 24 hours.  If you have lost your passport, wallet or other items, then you should report the loss to the Police Station at Sdruzeni 1, Pankrac, Prague 4 (nearest metro: Pankrac).  Sdruzeni police station opening hours are Mon, Tues, Thurs 0730-1130, 1215 - 1500; Wed 0800-1215, 1300-1700; Fri and weekends closed.

Political Situation

Czech Republic Country Profile.

Local Travel

Public transport tickets must be purchased before travelling.  The ticket tariffs were increased on 1 July 2005: if you have tickets from a previous trip, which were purchased before 30 June 2005, you should exchange these for new tickets before use.  This can be done at no cost at metro stations.  Tickets must be validated at the start of the journey, at the yellow machines at the entrance to metro stations or on board buses and trams, including before boarding the funicular tram at Petrin.  You will be fined on the spot if you are travelling with an invalid ticket, usually 400 crowns (around £9).  Tickets can be bought at most large hotels, metro stations and many newspaper stands.

There have been a number of recent accidents to British nationals involving trams.  Please take extra care when in the vicinity of tram tracks and make sure you look both ways.  The trams cannot stop quickly nor can they swerve to avoid somebody on the track.

Seasonal flooding occurs regularly in Czech republic.  In the event of concern about flooding you should consult website: http://www.voda.mze.cz and click on 'vstupte' to view a map of the country which shows, using a traffic light system, where flood warnings are in place on major rivers.

Road Safety

If you are planning to drive to the Czech Republic, you may like to consult a local motoring hotline, available in Czech and English on (tel: 00 420 1230).
Since 1 January 2005, it is a requirement under Czech law that all private cars, including those of foreign visitors, carry the following items:
  • 1 x Fluorescent Green High Visibility Safety Jacket
  • 1 x First Aid Kit
  • 1 x Spare pair of prescription glasses (if necessary) – kept in the glove compartment
  • 1 x Warning triangle
  • 1 x Complete set of spare bulbs


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Some bars and restaurants in the city centre do not allow access to stag groups.  Drunken or offensive behaviour is dealt with according to Czech law and may result in detention and or fines.
The Czech police advise that you may be fined if you attempt to cross a road or tram tracks within 50 metres of a designated crossing point (commonly marked by 'zebra' style crossing or traffic lights.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Visas may be required to enter the Czech Republic.  British passports holders, whose nationality is shown as anything other than a British Citizen must contact your nearest Czech Embassy to determine whether you require a visa for entry to the Czech Republic.

If you are a short-term visitor to the Czech Republic, the Czech authorities require British passports to be valid for the entire duration of your proposed visit.  You should have a minimum of six months’ validity on the passport when you travel in case of unforeseen emergency such as illness or arrest, which prevents you from leaving on your planned dates.  If your passport is due to expire in less than six months, it is advisable to have your onward travel details with you on arrival to show to the Immigration Office if required to do so.

Your passport should be in a presentable state.  Holders of passports, which are in poor condition, have been refused entry to the Czech Republic.

Children aged 15 and above must have their own passports.  Those travelling on a parent's passport will be refused entry to the Czech Republic.  You are also advised to carry with you a photocopy of the datapage of your passport at all times, for identification purposes.

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Czech representation in the UK.


HEALTH

The Form E111 is no longer valid.  You should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK.  The EHIC is not a substitute for medical and travel insurance, but entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Czech nationals.  You will not be covered for medical repatriation, on-going medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature.  For more information about how to obtain the EHIC please see:  Europe and the EHIC.

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.

You should be aware that some hospitals in parts of the Czech Republic are not used to foreign visitors and may not be aware of the rights conferred on you by an EHIC.  If you have trouble, please contact the British Embassy in Prague on the number below.  You can also consult http://www.cmu.cz for more advice on healthcare in the Czech Republic.

If you intend to settle permanently in the Czech Republic you need to either obtain Form E106, which indicates that they have made full National Insurance contributions in the UK, or to arrange health insurance with a commercial company on arrival.  This will entitle you to health care other than the EHIC accident and emergency cover, which is not acceptable for longer-term health needs.

If you are planning to visit forested areas, you are advised to seek medical advice before you travel about inoculations for tick borne encephalitis.

For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at www.dh.gov.uk.

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
Since 29 March 2006 there have been a number of deaths in swans and wild birds in the Czech Republic of the H5N1 form of Avian Influenza.  All of the deaths have occurred in the Hluboka region of Southern Bohemia and in Kostice, near Breclav, in South Moravia.  Immediately following the outbreaks the Czech authorities banned the movement of farm animals, including, birds, within a 10km zone around the areas of infection and disinfectant measures were put in place for vehicles and people visiting farms in the area.  On 14 June 2005, the veterinary restrictions were lifted.  No human infections or deaths have been reported.
The risk to humans from Avian Influenza is believed to be very low.  As a precaution you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked. 
You should read this advice in conjunction with the FCO's Avian and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see: What We Can Do To Help.

EU Aviation Regulations
The revised EU-wide security measures that came into effect for all passengers departing from UK airports in November 2006 are also being implemented in the Czech Republic.  For more details about this please see:  DfT - Airline Security Update.

It is almost impossible to change Scottish or Northern Irish bank notes in the Czech Republic.  Travellers' cheques are easily exchanged in the main cities.  If you are using local Foreign Exchange offices you should check before completing the transaction that you are content with the exchange rate offered and the commission charges.

If you are travelling in a group you should keep a careful note of your hotel telephone number and address in case you become detached from the rest of your party.

It is likely that Czech airports will shortly introduce more stringent rules on carrying liquids on to flights departing from Prague.  Travellers should be aware that hand baggage restrictions may change at short notice.